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Don't look at me, listen to the music  - Alan Tew - 1973
Label: Pye NSPL 41025 (UK)
Format: LP
From: UK
My rating: 7/10

Entered: 09/11/2004
Last updated: 09/11/2004

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Alan Tew is another famous name in British arrangers, but this is my first record by him. The title is an amusing observation on the trend of having attractive women on album covers.

This LP takes a little while to sink in, but it's really very good indeed.

The first track is funny because it’s ‘Flamingo’, one of my favorite standards, but arranged so that it sounds a bit like the Grange Hill [UK school drama] theme – all bouncy and jaunty. ‘Tom Hark’ turns out to be a familiar tune that everybody knows. Some kind of a children’s melody. In fact, most of the tunes on this LP are very familiar, even though I didn’t know their names before. ‘I wish I knew...’ is the old theme to ‘Film 8x’ with Barry Norman. This version is nice, with a strong but very minimal beat. ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ is a cool 60s Laurie Johnson style theme that was featured on one of those Sequel ‘Loungecore’ compilations.

Side 2 opens with a cool ‘Ironside’. This was also on a compilation. I looked for my copy and then remembered either selling it or giving it away when we left America. Oh well! Looking at the tracklisting of that compilation, I picked up a LOT of this stuff on vinyl in this batch. ‘Pink Panther’ is the next cut. It starts off as you would expect, and then breaks into a cool funk version. Very slow funk, but funk! This would work well on a ‘Mancini Funk’ compilation, perhaps alongside Mancini’s own version of ‘Lujon/Slow Hot Wind’ on the Symphonic Soul album. I’ll have to uncover funk versions of Moon River and Charade. They must be out there somewhere! This Pink Panther track is really very cool. Wicked spooky strings and percussion. The LP’s production is excellent throughout, but the funk effect doesn’t work so well on 'Wimoweh'! On ‘The Odd Couple’ he plays it straight. It’s a nice version, but he uses flutes instead of harpsichord, so it was never going to really cut it for me. The bongos also seem kind of superfluous on this occasion. The final track is interesting – a version of Horst Jankowski’s ‘A walk in the black forest’. Alan tries to fit it into the big funky drum template, but the tune doesn’t really fit; at least not in the main melody section. In the bridge sections it works a bit. So the track is fun, but winds up sounding slightly like a cheesy classical adaptation.

Overall, this is a very inventive album.

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